Because of the recent string of current events that scream at us from every television channel, some are blaming all cops for the behavior of a handful of corrupt ones. Anyone with a few brain cells understands that there are rotten eggs in every profession, not just the police force. Unfortunately, now all police officers bear the responsibility of conducting themselves in a way that not only upholds the honor that their badge demands but also defends that honor. In other words, there’s no wiggle room for questionable behavior. No police officer should intimidate, or otherwise relax their propriety-settings when dealing with the community. In fact, they should strive to experience positive interactions with civilians. I’m not suggesting they should be lax when upholding the law.
What I’m saying is this – cops really can’t act like jerks right now.
Even when they’re having bad days, and even when young whippersnappers trash-talk at them, they can’t react. They must control their egos and weigh everything with the knowledge that the world is unfairly suspicious of every move they make.
Yesterday, I was driving through a parking lot, and there was a truck stopped at the curb. I assumed the driver was waiting in the fire lane for someone to exit the store. I carefully went around him then turned down one of the parking lanes.
When I got out of my van, a man called, “Hey, lady, d’you know this is a parking lot?”
I searched for the owner of the voice and saw it was the driver of the aforementioned truck. He’d followed me.
“This is a parking lot. You shouldn’t have passed me,” he scolded. “Someone was crossing in front of me.”
“I’m so sorry sir,” I said. “There wasn’t anyone there when I passed you, though.”
“Maybe you should pay attention,” he grouched, effectively setting off my Italian temper.
What right did this guy have to follow me through the parking lot (can anyone say creepy?). Then he has the gall to tell me to pay closer attention when I have two kids in the car, watching? There was no way I was letting some ego-driven manly man in a beefy truck intimidate me.
“Maybe you should pull the log out of your own eye before you start picking the splinters out of mine,” I told him.
I suck at comebacks.
Then – here’s the problem – he says, “Maybe I should just write you a citation for your expired registration.”
Hold. Up. Mister. Big. Shot.
First of all, if you’re a cop – show your badge.
Secondly, don’t pick a fight with an otherwise polite bystander, especially when the first thing that comes out of her mouth after you’ve both followed her and accused her is an apology!
His empty threat didn’t scare me. For one thing, my registration wasn’t expired. I just hadn’t changed the sticker on my license plate. I also wasn’t entirely sure he was a cop.
AND – if he was a cop, the last thing I wanted my kids to see was an officer behaving badly.
So, I simply told him, that yes, maybe he should cite me for my “expired” registration, then got back in my car and left.
I’m not telling this story to show that cops have big egos and use their badges to push people around. This dummy didn’t even show me his badge. My point is that cops need to be vigilant in behaving well and keeping their tempers. I want my daughters to have positive impressions of police officers, to respect them and know that the majority of our men and women in uniform are good. We don’t need more stories on the news about cops acting like idiots.
I did call and report the man, because I believed he could be impersonating an officer. I gave his license plate, and it turned out he is a cop. I was disappointed, as I’d hoped he was just a random jerk. However, the officers who took my report were genuinely concerned over their colleague’s behavior. They agreed that police are unfortunately in the spotlight right now and can’t afford to act this way with civilians. They were caring, good listeners. They were sweet to my children, and they assured me I was within my rights to file a complaint against the man who followed me through the parking lot to bully me.
I didn’t file. The guy was probably just having a bad day. I’ve bawled my kids out unfairly on many of those bad days. It’s called being human. Cops are human too. If he stumbles across this post, I want him to know I’m sorry I passed him in the parking lot. I really thought he was waiting for someone at the liquor store or GNC. I also want him to think next time before he opens his mouth to indulge his ego.
Because my children are watching.
The world is watching.